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Pet Cancer Month

May 1, 2023

May is Pet Cancer Month. Cancer, unfortunately, is not uncommon among our furry friends. It’s actually a leading cause of death for pets that are over the age of ten. There is some good news here, though: there are more treatments available than ever before. A Clarkesville, GA vet discusses pet cancer below.

Risks

About one out of four dogs will develop neoplasia (lumps which may or may not be cancerous) during their lives, and about half of the pups that are aged ten or over get cancer. There are various risk factors, including chemical exposure, age, and diet. Breed also plays a role. For instance, some pups are more likely to develop cancer than others. Labrador retrievers, beagles, Boston terriers, and schnauzers are all high risk. Cancer isn’t as common with cats, but it is more likely to progress unseen.

Types Of Cancers

Dogs and cats can be afflicted by several types of cancers. Lymphoma is one of the most common ones. It’s been linked to feline leukemia virus in cats, though that isn’t the only risk factor. Other cancers our furry friends may develop include breast cancer; bone cancer; stomach cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, testicular cancer, and thyroid cancer.

Warning Signs

Keep an eye out for warning signs. Some of these include swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, coughing, lameness, reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, trouble swallowing and/or eating, wounds that don’t heal, exercise reluctance, and trouble relieving themselves. Call your vet immediately if you see any of these warning signs. 

Treatment

There are many options available for treating cancer in pets. These include the standard ones, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Alternative methods can also be very efficient, and may be used in combination with the hi-tech treatments. This often offers the best of both worlds. For instance, one pup may benefit from chemotherapy, but then may feel better after taking Chinese herbal medicine to help with nausea. 

That said, treatments are always done on a case-by-case basis, once a diagnosis has been made. This is simply because there are so many variables involved, such as the pet’s age, the type of cancer it is, and how fast it’s spreading. Hemangiosarcoma and Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, for instance, are both aggressive cancers that spread rapidly.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Clarkesville, GA animal clinic!

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